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George Zimmerman 22, Zimmerman 10, Mark O'mara 9, Us 8, Snowden 8, United States 8, Moscow 6, Obama 5, America 4, Russia 4, John 4, California 3, U.s. 3, Florida 3, Janet Napolitano 3, Latin America 3, Jeffrey Toobin 3, Michael Jackson 3, Adt 2, Jeffrey 2,
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  CNN    The Lead With Jake Tapper    News/Business. Headlines from around the globe span  
   politics, finance, sports and popular culture. New.  

    July 12, 2013
    1:00 - 2:01pm PDT  

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it came as a throng of morsi supporters reassembled in cairo and called for his reinstatement. i'm brianna keilar. thanks for watching. "the lead" starts now. >> we are now on george zimmerman verdict watch. people jake tapper. this is "the lead." the national lead, after three weeks of dramatic and emotional testimony, six female jurors are now deciding the fate of george zimmerman and deciding whether it was murder or self-defense. george zimmerman's attorney made one final pitch to the jury today hammering home the notion of reasonable doubt saying there's too many could have beens to convict. we'll hear from him, the man who orchestrated the closing arguments, attorney mark o'mara. >> and our world lead, catch me if you can. we're getting our first look at
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snowden. is he now planning to stay in russia? we'll talk to someone who was face to face with him in the room today. good afternoon, everyone. i'm jake tapper. we'll begin with the national lead and our continuous coverage of the george zimmerman trial, which has brought renewed folk to us issues of race, racial profiling and self-defense. oh, to be a fly on the wall in that jury room in florida as six women try to answer the question that has captivated the country, did george zimmerman kill trayvon martin in self-defense or was it murder? deliberations began about six and a half hours ago. this morning both sides in the case got a chance to make their final pitch to the jury. defense attorney mark o'mara was the there, both conversational and meticulous in his closing
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statements, he asked the jury to focus on one key issue, reasonable doubt. >> how many would have beens have you heard from the state, how many what ifs have you heard from the state in this case? they don't -- i don't think anyway -- they don't get to ask you, i don't think they get to ask you what do you think? no, no no. no, no, no. what have i proven to you? what have i convinced you beyond a reasonable doubt occurred in this case so much so that you have don't have any reasonable doubt as to those issues that i presented to you. >> the state has to take you from somewhere down here before there's any evidence and he's sort of presumed to be not guilty all the way up the fundamentalist your mind. >> when the state got a chance to rebut those closing arguments, prosecutor john guy, well, he tried to push the jurors' emotional buttons. he laid out his version of what happened that night.
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>> let's start at the 7-eleven, where that child had every right to be where he was, that child had every right to do what he was doing, walking home. that child had every right to be afraid of a strange man following him, first in his car and then on foot. and did that child not have the right to defend himself from that strange man? did trayvon martin not also have that right? >> let's go live now to cnn's martin savidge in sanford, florida. martin, you were in the courtroom for both of these very powerful presentations from the state and the defense.
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what key moments stood out for you? >> you know, jake, there were so many of them. of course mark o'mara went on for three hours, there was a 15-minute break in between about halfway. he touched on a lot of things but burden of proof was a key part of it. he said really the state has to prove its case against my client and he went on to saying all the could haves and would haves and that nondefinite kind of language. he said i'm going to do something i don't have to do, i'm going to prove my client is innocent and he launched into what was a fairly strong and point-by-point breakdown of what the defense's case had been and he talked about every witness and talked about why this mattered and why what they said mattered and he wasn't afraid to use theatrics. he brought out he's large cutout -- card board cutouts.
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one was of george zimmerman, one was trayvon martin wearing a hoodie but only an outline. he brought out this huge chunk of concrete to say this really could be a weapon. you could sense its heft. he had four minutes of silence. he said i'm going to stop talking and you'll hear from me in a bit. he wandered around courtroom, didn't say a word, fiddled with this evenin things and it was silence. he said that is how much time trayvon martin had to run away. powerful. very powerful. then john guy comes up and says it was all lies and he marches through a very effective telling, too. they both have an understated tone, very quiet, matter of fact. it seems that the jurors were listening to both of this many very, very closely. finally john guy said you know what, there may not have been the blood of george zimmerman on
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trayvon martin's hands but george zimmerman will always have the blood of trayvon martin on his hands. again, powerful lines delivered today, jake. >> martin, i always want to know what you see when you are in the room there and you see the jurors' expressions, the jurors' faces. is there any you could discern at all about how effective the closing arguments and the state's rebuttal might have been? >> if you saw any of us in the courtroom, we were all -- you could just see our necks craning because we were constantly focused on that jury to read something. they were as they've always been. they were very attentive, they were closely watching. once maybe during mark o'mara's presentation i saw one alternate sort of nodding in agreement but that was it. it would be impossible, i would say, by my untrained mind to
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tell what they were thinking other than to say they watched it all as they did every day. >> here with us is tom meszaros, defense attorney linda kenney badden and jeffrey toobin. let's take a look, jeff, at what you called the key moment from the defense today. >> he could have been backing up. could have been. if i was arguing that, i would be arguing to you reasonable doubt. you know, it could have happened this way. it could have been that he was backing up. well, i don't know. i almost made light of it when i say well, he could have been backing up to strike another blow, but the could have beens don't belong in this courtroom. >> jeff, why does that stand out so much for you?
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>> because the defense of pointing out that the prosecution has never laid out precisely how this crime unfolded, who was on top first, who was the aggressor throughout this fight, when did the at are case between these two begin. and what i thought mark o'mara did so successfully, particularly in that part of the summation, was to say, look, you can't convict someone if the prosecution is saying, well, it might have happened this way and could have happened that way. that was very effective because that ultimately is the heart of the defense is that they say the prosecution has not proved precisely what happened between these two people. >> linda, was there any part of the rebuttal from prosecutor john guy that stood out to you? >> you know, i couldn't pick a portion. it was the whole thing because it brought the emotional aspect of this case back. this was a child and john guy
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holds up a picture with a bullet wound through trayvon's heart, talked about his heart. if there's any strength to the prosecution case, jake, it's that these jurors may say, yeah, it could have been self-defense but ultimately we're all mothers or we're pet owners and the child died here. what is this case really about? a child who died and we have to hold someone responsible. so i thought guy of all the prosecutor was the most effective. far more effective than bernie de la rionda yesterday. >> tom, what do you think were the key themes from both sides today? >> well, i think the key themes are responsibility versus reasonable doubt. puerto rico the prosecution's point of view, this entire event began when george zimmerman profiled trayvon martin, disobeyed the police and went after him, disobeyed the homeowner association rules and confronted a suspect and now
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says i have to defend myself from a situation i created. i thought mark o'mara's chart on reasonable was very effective. it's the same chart i used in the michael jackson trial and i borrowed it from johnnie cochran who used it in the o.j. simpson trial. you go up the scale, is it probably guilty? guilt is certain, guilt is likely. you show how all of these very strong burdens of doubt are lower than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. it's responsibility versus reasonable doubt as i see the case. >> we've heard over and over from the prosecution that trayvon martin was unarmed the night he was killed, he only had skittles and an iced tea but the defense countered that today saying he used the concrete as a weapon by slamming george zimmerman's head into it.
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and to illustrate the point, mark o'mara actually brought a piece of seccement in the courtroom. l let's take a look. >> and then it was said -- how many times was it said that trayvon martin was unarmed? now, i'll be held in contempt if i drop this so i'm not going to do some drama and drop it on the floor and watch it roll around. that is cement. that is a sidewalk. and that is not an unarmed teen-ager with nothing but skits trying to get home. >> jeffrey, first of all, i love the idea that he says he's not going to do any drama, but he's basically inviting people -- first of all, he's doing this very dramatic like this but he's inviting the jury to imagine him dropping this very heavy piece
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of concrete. do you think that that had an impact on the jury? >> well, i think the argument is really right interest for the jury to consider, and this is one of the great paradoxes of this case, something i've wondered about from the beginning. we all know that george zimmerman suffered some injuries and he had a bloody head and a bloody nose. the defense has been saying from the beginning that's because trayvon martin was pounding his head against the concrete. but were these injuries really very serious? was that concrete really very damaging to george zimmerman? you know, he was not seriously injured. so the jury is left in the position of asking the question is that concrete something that really did serious damage or just did a little bit of damage and provoked a wild overreaction that resulted in the death of trayvon martin? >> linda, do you think that
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display was enough to counter claims from the medical examiner that george zimmerman's injuries were ultimately really not that significa significant? >> no, i don't. but by the same token, it's george zimmerman's reasonable fear. and the problem is that he's so flawed to begin with because talk about impression evidence, he thought that trayvon could be a burglar, that maybe in his flawed reasoning he may have joe reacted but under the circumstances, it's his reasoning that counts. when mark o'mara says this is a case about what george zimmerman believed and did he believe he was in danger of his safety. >> we're going to take a, very very quick break. still ahead on "the lead," the jury has the verdict. what is going on in the jury room at this moment? plus new details in the crash of asiana flight 214.
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police are saying now what they think happened to that young girl found dead on the runway. stick around, we'll be right back. walmart's education benefits to get a degree, maybe work in it, or be an engineer, helping walmart conserve energy. even today, when our store does well, i earn quarterly bonuses. when people look at me, i hope they see someone working their way up. vo: opportunity, that's the real walmart. every day we're working to and to keep our commitments. and we've made a big commitment to america. bp supports nearly 250,000 jobs here. through all of our energy operations, we invest more in the u.s. than any other place in the world. in fact, we've invested over $55 billion here in the last five years - making bp america's largest energy investor. our commitment has never been stronger.
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and our continuing coverage of the george zimmerman murder trial. jury deliberations got under way a couple hours ago. the reason we just played the fancy music is because we just received a statement from zimmerman's family. quote, from the onset this tragic event, our family has
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been clear to express our trust in the judicial system. a jury of one's peers is the hall mark of our country's judicial system. the american justice system is the finest in the world. george's fate is now in the hands of jury, who will make their decision based on the evidence and the facts of case. as we await a verdict we will remain holeful and ask for a public to remain peaceful, no matter what the outcome. we hope now as americans that we will all respect the rule of law, which means respecting the verdict. pray for justice, pray for peace, pray for our country. >> let's go back to our panel now. prosecutor john guy hammered on a key point, that if zimmerman had just stayed in his car, trayvon martin would still be alive today. let's play some of that. we don't have a sound bite there
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ready. so in any case, that is the point he was trying to make, that if he just stayed in his car, none of this would have happened. jeff, this is critical to the case. is it still self-defense if you're the one to approach someone in this this evening th became a conflict? >> it is self-defense if you're merely approaching someone and that person attracts you. there's no doubt under the laws they the case. but i do think it's a good point that john guy made, if zimmerman simply stayed in the car, nothing would have happened. but having gotten out of the car, he had the right, walk around, talk to trayvon martin. and so it's not a complete answer to the situation to say that if he just stayed in the car. he got out of the car. we obviously all know that. and he is entitled to defend himself once he did that. the question is will the jury find that's what he did?
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>> tom mesereau, has the focus on everything from the phone calls to the injuries to who was on top, does that all detract from this central question? >> well, the defense certainly hopes it does. i mean, the defense has thrown every possibility, every unknown fact out there for the jury to consider. and when it comes to reasonable doubt, nobody really knows what it means. i mean, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. so they're saying every unproven fact, every unanswered question, every possibility alone and in composite show reasonable doubt. you expect the defense to do that. the prosecution has been burden by the fact that the only one alive who witnessed these events is zimmerman. i think when the verdict comes in, one thing that people are going to debate for a while is was the prosecution smart or ill advised to bring in zimmerman's taped statements? because they didn't have to do that. and by doing that, they gave him the opportunity not to testify.
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you know, in the robert blake case, i didn't want him -- i was his lawyer at the time. i didn't want him to interview with barbara walters and he insisted. during his trial the prosecutor brought that in. he didn't testify because he didn't have to. he protested his innocence on the tape and was acquitted. in the michael jackson case, the prosecution brought in the martin bashir interview with michael jackson. i didn't have to put him on and subject him to cross-examination either and he was acquitted as well. right now i think the question is do you hold george zimmerman responsible for a series of events that he set in motion and for bringing deadly force to the equation, or do you say there's reasonable doubt as to what happened and what zimmerman was thinking and he's acquitted? >> there was a really
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interesting this eveni interesting thing that happened today, an interesting moment, had to do with autopsy photos. we're not going to show them but the prosecution did show them to the jury during their closing arguments yesterday. the defense today took a different way. let's listen in. >> about two months, three months before trayvon passed away, he's a young kid, a good kid. not bad. the two things about autopsy photographs, they're horrific and they're meant have to negative impact. the other thing about autopsy photographs, there's no muscle tone. there's no nerves, no movement. he's lost half his blood, we know that. so that picture that we have of
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him on the medical examiner's table, yeah, he does look emaciated. but here's him three months before that night. so it's in evidence. take a look at it because this is the person and this is the person who george zimmerman encountered that night. >> interesting moment there, not only for what mark o'mara was saying, linda, but also because trayvon martin's mom quite noticeably walked out of the courtroom during that. the prosecution using autopsy photos in their closing statements, especially when they're not making any sort of point about the bullet wound, does the defense have a good argument there? >> well, there's no doubt that autopsy photographs for a jury are very upsetting. and they do show the body in the worst condition, you know, when you're used to a child. by the same token, this is a dangerous argument to say look
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at -- look, this is what the prosecution is trying to do but here's pictures of the live trayvon martin. i'm not sure the jury is going to say look at that muscle-bound kid. they're going to say look at this child who was alive a couple months before the shooting and now look at him. i think it was a very risky move to bring the pictures in. of course it would be upsetting for the mother. it would be upsetting for any of us if we lost a child. >> we're going to take a quick break. other big news going on there. edward snowden went underground two weeks ago but today he showed up in front of cameras in moscow. one of the few people who was with him in that room joins us next. what did snowden tell her about his next move?
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welcome back to "the lead." we're on george zimmerman verdict watch right now. we want to also get you up to date on other news. in the world lead today, he's out of the shadows but still in limbo. after weeks in hiding today edward snowden finally showed his face and asked for help. but he is not asking for forgiveness. >> a little over a month ago i had a family, a home in paradise and i lived in great comfort. i also had the capability to search for, seize and read your communications. >> the former national security agency contractor broke his
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silence in a meeting today with representatives from human rights organizations at the moscow airport where he has been hold up for almost three weeks now. during the press conference, the man responsible for this historic breach of america security appears thinner but in good spirits and seen laughing when an announcement interrupted his -- [ inaudible ]. >> i've heard this many times over the last couple of weeks. >> snowden is helping to convince the russian government to allow him to stay in moscow until he can find asylum. one woman in the room with him
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today was tanya from the human rights watch. i asked her how snowden was holding up after weeks in hiding. >> he looked all right and he thought he was doing fine healthwise and his living conditions were quite acceptable. at the same time, he cannot stay in the airport in moscow indefinite live so he's trying to find a solution. >> did he discuss a preference in terms of which country in latin america he would rather seek asylum in? >> he did not specify but he mentioned venezuela several times and he made it very clear that he would have been there already if not for the interference from the united states. he definitely plans to travel to latin america as far as he says,
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but as he's not able to do it at this point, he has no other choice but ask russia for asylum. >> and lastly, tanya, was there any discussion about flight routes out of russia, how he wants to be able to get to latin america? >> no, no discussion of flight routes. he made it very clear that the only reason he's not there is the united states is putting pressure on other countries and he wanted to have his freedom of movement back. >> tanya, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> the white house has a warning for moscow, don't cooperate with snowden. president obama has a phone call scheduled with russian president vladimir putin today. the question is whether or not moscow will play ball. elise, what are putin's options at this point? >> he doesn't have a lot, jake. he's kind of in a box, if you
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will. the chinese sent snowden back to russia and some might say that they put him in a very bad situation. putin waited a long time to do this. he didn't send him back to the united states, he didn't send them to any country where he could go so now putin has to choose between domestically being the strong man that stands up to the united states and his relationship with president obama, which is very fragile right now. >> would i think the u.s. government is furious that this press conference was even allowed to take place. you could justify snowden being in hiding, quote unquote, in this airport but going before cameras, human rights groups are allowed to come and hear him, that's not something president obama wants to see happen. >> no, and obviously this is something russian officials helped facilitate. they're already treating him as an asylum case, giving him access to human rights people.
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they were saying to the russians that he was in a transit airport and he couldn't go anywhere and now he's getting this good treatment, treated by human rights officials. i think what they're afraid of now is that they're moving toward possible asylum. because you see that, as snowden said out loud, i will not leak any more information against the united states. that was one of the conditions the russians put out for his asylum last week. so the question is were the russians setting up this press conference to give him a chance to publicly meet those conditions. >> we also know that putin wants to have a good relationship with the united states. the only thing you could really picture happening other than the asylum thing is maybe potentially, and i'm speak la speculating, that there could be a trade. >> there is speculation there could be a trade. we don't know what's going to happen in this conferring between president obama and putin. officials say that's really a
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nonstarter because they see these people as convicted spies against the united states. they're saying that snowden is a criminal wanted on charges. you can see where the russians would think it's a fair deal. if putin could get a deal like that, i'm sure he'd hand him over. >> interesting. coming up after three weeks of testimony in the zimmerman murder trial, what key moments stood out to our legal experts and what do they think will resonate with a jury? we'll go back to our panel in just a few minutes. [ male announcer ] when you wear dentures you may not know that your mouth is under attack, from food particles and bacteria. try fixodent. it helps create a food seal defense for a clean mouth and kills bacteria for fresh breath. ♪ fixodent, and forget it.
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper on verdict watch. right now what you're watching is the jury has come into the courtroom. they have a question. they have a question. so that is what's going on. we'll keep tabs on what's going on in the courtroom right now and have more analysis of the george zimmerman trial ahead. but first, another legal drama is brewing. the suspect in the cleveland kidnapping case that shocked the nation was just indicted on almost a thousand new charges by
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a grand jury. ariel castro was hit with 977 counts, including charges of rape and kidnapping of three women and two counts of aggravated murder for allegedly beating and forcing the woman into miscarriage. >> san francisco police now say one of the two teen-agers who died after last week's plane crash was hit by a fire truck responding to the scene. 16-year-old ye mengyuan was on the ground. what's not clear yet is whether she was already dead or not when the truck hit her. investigators think the plane was flying to low and slow when it hit a seawall. >> hopefully you're judged by
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the 99 times you're success. janet napolitano today announced she is leaving president obama's cabinet to lead the university of california. so how will janet napolitano be remembered? how'd she do? >> one of janet napolitano's first major tests came on her first christmas on the job when the failed underwear bomber tried to destroy a northwest airlines plane full of passengers flying to detroit. the attack was thankfully prevented by the passengers on the plane but his presence on the plane with explosives was an example of systemic intelligence failures and failures of the systems and procedures if place
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to prevent suspected terrorists from entering the united states. on the sunday shows two days later, secretary napolitano had a different focus. >> the system has worked very, very smoothly over the course of the past several days. everybody reacted as they should. we trained for this, we planned for this, we exercised for this sort of event should it occur. >> but you keep saying everybody acted the way they were supposed to. clearly the passengers and the crew of that northwest airlines flight did, but i think there are questions about whether everybody in the u.s. government did. in fact, there have been a number of similar attacks. a man allegedly killed 13 soldiers at fort hood in 2009. in april of this years, the tsarnaev brothers maimed many
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and killed four in the marathon bombing. "it is crucial that the administration appoints someone who does not under estimate the threats against us." the white house was unequivocal in its praise of napolitano, even given its attacks. >> there's no question that we remain the targets of threats against the homeland and americans abroad and we have be ever vigilant. that was true before secretary napolitano took the job and president obama came into office and it will be true after president obama and secretary napolitano's successor leave office. >> her tenure started off stormy. house republicans criticized napolitano in 2009 when a memo noted the struggling economy could create a fertile recruiting environment for right-wing extremists.
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>> i think it was a valuable lesson for her that she needed to make sure she exercised pretty strong controls over the institutional operations of the department. >> duke university professor david shansor, director of the triangle center on terrorism and homeland security said her legacy is strongest in the federal response to national disasters, tornadoes in joplin, missouri, moore, oklahoma, and superstorm sandy. >> this is cnn breaking news. >> sorry to interrupt our own piece there, but jurors in george zimmerman's murder trial have only been deliberating for about two hours and they already have a question for the judge. let's go live to the courtroom and listen in. >> the letters for identification purposes only. susan, is there a way to create just a what's in evidence list? you can do what? print it out?
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white it out and make a copy? if counsel wants to approach the clerk and see what it is that she's proposing and tell me if you have any objections. you can look at the questions if you want but that's exactly what it says. can you give it to them and they can look at it. you can give that to susan. she needs to file it in the court file.
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>> while the lawyers are conferring with the judge, i want to bring in cnn's jeffrey toobin to get more detail, understanding and context of what is going on right now. what's the story? what is the jury asking about? >> my understanding is the jury is asking for a list of all the exhibits. that's a very common first question from a jury. it shows they're taking their responsibilities seriously. and the lawyers are now conferring so that they can agree on what the exact list is. in a fairly complicated trial like this when it can be
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complicated to assemble a list that's accurate. but this is the kind of thing you often hear from a jury at the beginning, you often have questions like can we have a -- >> we'll just remain here. we're going to recess. so the clerk can go ahead and make that and when she's ready, i'll come back in the courtroom to make sure you review it and then if there's no objection, i'll just have the deputy bring it in to them. okay. we'll be in recess for a few moments. >> jeff, i don't understand. as somebody who has not served on a jury in a case like this, there isn't just automatically a list of evidence that the jury is given? >> no, not usually. and another very common form of question from the jury is testimony read back. we'd like to hear so and so's testimony about x. that becomes often very complicated because the lawyers
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have to agree on what part of the testimony is responsive. this is actually an easy question to answer, but just to answer your question directly, it is not usually a matter of course to put in the jury room anything except the jury form. in fact, another common early question from jurors is can we have more pads of paper? can we have a black board? can we have a white board? these are the kinds of things juries often do when they are getting organized in the early stages of the deliberation. >> jeffrey, in states where cameras in the courtrooms are allowed and i believe there are three, i believe it florida, arizona and california, correct me if i'm wrong, is video there if the members of the jury want to see someone's testimony all over again? >> i can't speak for every courtroom everywhere, but i don't think testimony is shown to the jury in terms of video. it's read back usually in a monotone by the court reporter, the stenographer, who reads back
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the part that answers the jury's questions. it can be enormously tedious and you often find that jurors will ask for readbacks and then stop asking for readbacks because it so frustrating add tedious to listen to testimony read in a monotone. i don't think this video is used except for the news media. it's not officially part of the court record and the jury can only hear from the official court record. >> linda kenney baden, as long as the jury has brought the subject of evidence into discussion, what are some of the key pieces of evidence that you have seen in this trial, either for the prosecution or the defense? what are some of the items that the jury might be wondering about, ones that are significant to this case? >> well, i think they're going to want to look at trayvon martin's clothes. and if i were a juror, i'd want to look at them outside the
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plexiglas container, george zimmerman's clothes and of course the gun. the gun that killed trayvon martin is going to be very important. and the jurors, i believe, you know they were challenged here, jake, to do an exhibition themselves by mr. guy, to get on top of each other, to see if you could reach that gun. so i won't be surprised if you will have jurors trying to do that. but if the gun goes into the jury room, it goes in under very strict requirements and certainly doesn't go in with the ammunition. >> i want to go to martin savidge who is outside the courthouse in sanford, california. we're hearing there is some tum ult out there. what is going on? >> there's a group that came over from saint petersburg, supporters of trayvon martin, and have mixed emotions about
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how this case has gone. they don't think the prosecution has put their best food forward and they are out there to demonstrate. they're doing it in an area that was set aside, quite a large area directly in front of the courthouse. usually you would only see one, maybe two people every day that this trial has been going on but of course now that we are reaching a critical moment, many people, many, there are 12 or 15, have shown up here. at the time i looked at them, they were vastly outnumbered by the media. but this has all been carefully set aside so that people can express their feelings, can come out and demonstrate and can do so in a way that is lawful, allows them to be here with the media, allows them to be by the courthouse. if that area gets overflowed, there's another one across the street. if that gets overflowed, there's a large park set aside. so the community really has been trying to show that it is open to allow discussion, good
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discussion and civil discussion about this case. >> or even loud discussion. i mean, demonstrations in this case would not be unusual at all. we're expecting whatever side win, we're expecting there will be people on the other side disappointed and think the case was waged in too political a manner. jeffrey toobin, we heard earlier from somebody representing the sanford government, basically cautioning people not to demonstrate in a way that is violent. and don lemon, one of our cnn anchors, said that he was taken aback by that, that as an african-american man he thought that was sending the signal that african-americans are not going to be able to control themselves and he was offended by that. that must be a difficult thing for people in the community to hear, both african-americans and non-african-americans, the idea that people are being cautioned not to be too violent. >> it a difficult line to walk
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for the authority because they don't want to suggest that people might react violently to this verdict. since the rodney king case, which is almost 20 years ago, there haven't been i don't think, that i can remember, any community reactions to a verdict that were really bad. but local authorities also have to be cautious. i certainly based on what i've seen of this case expect that whatever the verdict is, the community will take it in stride. and i expect that's going to be the case. but you certainly want your local authorities to be prepared for whatever may come. >> the prosecution has tried to clear clear of the race conversation during the trial but prosecutor john guy closing for the state's case posed this question to the jury -- "what if it were george zimmerman who had been walking home that night?"
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>> this case is not about race. it about right and wrong. it that simple. and let me suggest to you how you know that for sure. ask yourselves all things being equal, if the roles were reversed and it was 28-year-old george zimmerman walking home with a hoodie on to protect himself from the rain in that neighborhood and a 17-year-old driving around in a car who called the police, who had hate in their heart, hate in their mouth, hate in their actions, and if it was trayvon martin who
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had shot and killed george zimmerman, what would your verdict be? that's how you know it not about race. >> a contributing writer of "the new yorker" and director of research of african-american study joins us, he says this case is not about race. do you agree with him? >> i think from a prosecutorial standpoint, that's what he had to say. there's also the old truism that nothing certifies that something is about race than an unsolicited denial that this is not about race. race is at the heart of this. if it want about race, we wouldn't be here. but he doesn't want to seem as if he's race baiting. race as i've said, functions like a boomerang. if you put it out there, it
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comes right back at you. from his perspective as a prosecutor, that's what he has to say. >> but this case is suffused with race. even if the term racial profiling has not been allowed, the term profiling was allowed. this is an educated jury. they understand that even if the word "racial" isn't there that someone is suggesting racial profiling. don't you think? >> absolutely. i think this case has followed the same contours of the way we handle race in the broader society, which is to say we talk about it by not talking about it. when the prosecutor came up to the jury and said mr. zimmerman made assumptions or he profiled him as a criminal and so on, anyone could tell, you know, what he was getting at there. and so race is there. it's just we can't say so explicitly. i also think it's telling to the
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extent that it been discussed in the case, the only explicit instance is when mark o'mara was questioning rachel jeantel around we were going through the whole creepy ass crack ercracke not sure if i can say that on the air, it was said that trayvon martin had a racial mindset going into the situation. i think they'll throw anything they can at the wall and see if it sticks. this is really about the same way we deal with race in the open society. >> i think if nothing else, they've seen "a time to kill," with is a similar closing argument about seeing difference cases of race for individual. the jury is of course now in the middle of deliberations.
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welcome back to "the lead," we're on verdict watch. let's get final word from our panel. we only have a couple of minutes here. let's play prosecutor bernie de la rionda in his closing arguments yesterday. >> he bought skittles or some kind of iced tea. that was his crime. >> what about that is so vital to you? >> it takes us back to why it became a national story in the
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first place. can a 17-year-old african-american boy go to the store, do a perfectly innocent act like buying candy and soda and then walk home without getting killed? i think putting that question in front of the jury in that way puts it in a stark way and i think a very favorable it was a key moment when both mothers testified. why? >> duelling mothers brought the emotion back to the jury. >> and jelani, sybrina fulton on the stand, did she make her case? >> if nothing else, the jurors remember her saying trayvon benjamin martin is my son and he's in heaven. that gets to the core.
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no matter the complications, at the end of the day, this is a woman who lost her son and they want to stand what happened. >> check out our show page, cnn/thelead. i turn you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." right now, george zimmerman is being judged by jurors. a verdict could happen at any time. will it come down to the fine print of the law or will it come down to emotion? lawyers on both sides argued their cases one last time. our analysts are standing by. they'll take a closer look at the critical point that the lawyers made and their clashing styles. and the defense attorney mark o'mara talks at about the toughest and most controversial choices he had to make during the trial and how race has figured into this trial. i'm wolf blitzer.